13-14 September 2012, University of York
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born on the island of Zanzibar in 1948 and left East Africa for England in 1968. Following postgraduate studies at the universities of London and Kent, he spent two years lecturing at Bayero University in Nigeria, before returning to teach at Kent, where he is presently Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department. He has published extensively on colonial and postcolonial writing, including articles on V. S. Naipaul and Wole Soyinka, and he is the editor of two volumes of Essays on African Writing and The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie. Concurrently, he has made his name as a leading novelist on the contemporary international scene. In 2005 he was an invited participant in Durban’s ‘Time of the Writer’ festival, where he read from his seventh novel, Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize). His other novels include: Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrim’s Way (1988), Dottie (1990), Paradise (1994 – shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize), Admiring Silence (1996), By the Sea (2001 – longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and winner of the Radio France International ‘Temoin du Monde’ Prize), and The Last Gift (2011). His short story, ‘My Mother Lived on a Farm in Africa’, appeared in 2006.